New Mexico Territory

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Territory of New Mexico
Organized incorporated territory of the United States
1850–1912
US flag 45 stars.svg
Flag
New Mexico territory coat of arms (illustrated, 1876).jpg
Coat of arms
AZ-NM1867.jpg
Map of the later Arizona and New Mexico Territories, split from the original New Mexico Territory of 1851, showing existing counties
Capital Santa Fe
Government
  Type Organized incorporated territory
Governor  
 1851–1852
James S. Calhoun
 1910–1912
William J. Mills
Legislature New Mexico Territorial Legislature
History 
May 30, 1848
September 9 1850
June 24, 1853
  Colorado Territory established
February 28, 1861
  Arizona Territory established
February 24, 1863
  Statehood
January 6 1912
Preceded by
Succeeded by
US flag 30 stars.svg U.S. provisional government of New Mexico
Flag of Texas.svg Republic of Texas
New Mexico Flag of New Mexico (1912-1925).svg
Arizona Territory Flag of Arizona.svg
Colorado Flag of Colorado (1911-1964).svg
Nevada Flag of Nevada (1905-1915).svg

The Territory of New Mexico was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed (with varying boundaries) from September 9, 1850, until January 6, 1912, when the remaining extent of the territory was admitted to the Union as the State of New Mexico, making it the longest-lived organized incorporated territory of the United States, lasting approximately 62 years.

Contents

Before the Territory was organized

Proposed boundaries for the earlier federal State of New Mexico, 1850 Boundaries of State of New Mexico proposed in 1850.png
Proposed boundaries for the earlier federal State of New Mexico, 1850

In 1846, during the Mexican–American War, the U.S. provisional government of New Mexico was established. Territorial boundaries were somewhat ambiguous. After the Mexican Republic formally ceded the region to the United States in 1848, this temporary wartime/military government persisted until September 9, 1850.

Earlier in the year 1850, a bid for New Mexico statehood was underway under a proposed state constitution prohibiting slavery. The request was approved at the same time that the Utah Territory was created to the north. The proposed state boundaries were to extend as far east as the 100th meridian West and as far north as the Arkansas River, thus encompassing the present-day Texas and Oklahoma panhandles and parts of present-day Kansas, Colorado, Utah, and Arizona, as well as most of present-day New Mexico. Texas raised great opposition to this plan, as it claimed much of the same territory, although it did not control these lands. In addition, slaveholders worried about not being able to expand slavery to the west of their current slave states.

Compromise of 1850 and disputes over slavery

New Mexico Territory, 1852 New Mexico Territory, 1852.png
New Mexico Territory, 1852
The Gadsden Purchase, 1853 Gadsden Purchase Cities ZP.svg
The Gadsden Purchase, 1853
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Wpdms arizona new mexico territories 1863 idx.png
Wpdms new mexico territory 1866.png

The Compromise of 1850 put an end to the push for immediate New Mexico statehood. Approved by the United States Congress in September 1850, the legislation provided for the establishment of New Mexico Territory and Utah Territory. It also firmly established the disputed western boundary of Texas.

The status of slavery during the territorial period provoked considerable debate. The granting of statehood was up to a Congress sharply divided on the slavery issue. Some (including Stephen A. Douglas) maintained that the territory could not restrict slavery, as under the earlier Missouri Compromise, while others (including Abraham Lincoln) insisted that older Mexican Republic legal traditions of the territory, which abolished black, but not Indian, slavery in 1834, took precedence and should be continued. Regardless of its official status, slavery was rare in antebellum New Mexico. Black slaves never numbered more than about a dozen. [1]

As one of the final attempts at compromise to avoid the Civil War, in December 1860, a U.S. House of Representatives committee proposed to admit New Mexico as a slave state immediately. Although the measure was approved by the committee on December 29, 1860, Southern representatives did not take up this offer, as many of them had already left Congress due to imminent declarations of secession by their states. [2]

On February 24, 1863, during the Civil War, Congress passed the "Arizona Organic Act", which split off the western portion of the then 12-year-old New Mexico Territory as the new Arizona Territory, and abolished slavery in the new Territory. As in New Mexico, slavery was already extremely limited, due to earlier Mexican traditions, laws, and patterns of settlement. The northwestern corner of New Mexico Territory was included in Arizona Territory until it was added to the southernmost part of the newly admitted State of Nevada in 1864. Eventually, Arizona Territory was organized as the State of Arizona.

Territorial evolution

The Purchase treaty defines the new border as "up the middle of that river (the Rio Grande) to the point where the parallel of 31° 47' north latitude crosses the same 31°47′0″N106°31′41.5″W / 31.78333°N 106.528194°W / 31.78333; -106.528194 ; thence due west one hundred miles; thence south to the parallel of 31° 20' north latitude; thence along the said parallel of 31° 20' to the 111th meridian of longitude west of Greenwich 31°20′N111°0′W / 31.333°N 111.000°W / 31.333; -111.000 ; thence in a straight line to a point on the Colorado River twenty English miles below the junction of the Gila and Colorado rivers; thence up the middle of the said river Colorado until it intersects the present line between the United States and Mexico." The new border included a few miles of the Colorado River at the western end; the remaining land portion consisted of line segments between points, including 32°29′38″N114°48′47″W / 32.49399°N 114.813043°W / 32.49399; -114.813043 at the Colorado River, west of Nogales at 31°19′56″N111°04′27″W / 31.33214°N 111.07423°W / 31.33214; -111.07423 , near AZ-NM-Mexico tripoint at 31°19′56″N109°03′02″W / 31.332099°N 109.05047°W / 31.332099; -109.05047 , the eastern corners of NM southern bootheel (Hidalgo County) at 31°47′02″N108°12′31″W / 31.78378°N 108.20854°W / 31.78378; -108.20854 , and the west bank of Rio Grande at 31°47′02″N106°31′43″W / 31.78377°N 106.52864°W / 31.78377; -106.52864 .

The boundaries of the New Mexico Territory at the time of establishment (September 9, 1850) contained most of the present-day State of New Mexico, more than half of the present-day State of Arizona, and portions of the present-day states of Colorado and Nevada. Although this area was smaller than what had been included in the failed statehood proposal of early 1850, the boundary disputes with Texas had been dispelled by the Compromise of 1850.

The Gadsden Purchase was acquired by the United States from Mexico in 1853/1854 (known as the "Venta de La Mesilla" or the "Sale of La Mesilla"), arranged by the then-American ambassador to Mexico, James Gadsden. This added today's southern strip of Arizona and a smaller area in today's southwestern New Mexico to the New Mexico Territory, bringing its land area to the maximum size achieved in its history as an organized territory. The land of 29,640 square miles (76,800 km2) provided a more easily constructed route for a future southern transcontinental railroad line (second of the routes) for the future Southern Pacific Railroad, constructed later in 1881/1883. [3]

The Colorado Territory was established by the "Colorado Organic Act" on February 28, 1861, with the same boundaries that would ultimately constitute the State of Colorado. This Act removed the Colorado lands from the New Mexico Territory.

The creation of the Union Arizona Territory (two years after the ill-fated Confederate Arizona Territory) by the "Arizona Organic Act" on February 24, 1863, removed all the land west of the 109th meridian from the New Mexico Territory, i.e. the entire present-day State of Arizona plus the land that would become the southern part of the State of Nevada in 1864. [4] This Act left the New Mexico Territory with boundaries identical to the eventual State of New Mexico for a half-century until admitted to the Union in 1912 as the 47th state (followed just under six weeks later by the Arizona Territory/State of Arizona, which became the 48th state, finally filling out the coast-to-coast continental expanse of the United States).

American Civil War

As the route to California, New Mexico Territory was disputed territory during the American Civil War. Settlers in the southern part of the Territory willingly joined the Confederate States in 1861 as the newly organized Confederate Territory of Arizona, with a representative delegate to the Confederate Congress in the capital of Richmond. This territory consisted of the southern half of the earlier Federal New Mexico Territory of 1851 and was in contrast to the later Federal Arizona Territory established by the Union in 1863, which was the western half split off from the original U.S. New Mexico Territory. The short-lived Confederate Arizona Territory was the first American territorial entity to be called "Arizona".

The Battle of Glorieta Pass in May 1862, following the retreat of Texan Confederate forces back south to El Paso, placed the area of the Rio Grande valley and eastern New Mexico Territory with the capital of Santa Fe under the control of the Federals with their Union Army. [5] However, the government and leadership of Confederate Arizona persisted until the end of the Civil War in June 1865 with the surrender of the Trans-Mississippi Department, living in exile in El Paso, Texas with its delegate still in Richmond.

See also

Related Research Articles

Compromise of 1850 Compromise on slavery in U.S. territories annexed from Mexico in the Mexican-American war

The Compromise of 1850 was a package of five separate bills passed by the United States Congress in September 1850 that defused a political confrontation between slave and free states on the status of territories acquired in the Mexican–American War. It also set Texas's western and northern borders and included provisions addressing fugitive slaves and the slave trade. The compromise was brokered by Whig senator Henry Clay and Democratic senator Stephen Douglas with the support of President Millard Fillmore.

Gadsden Purchase A land purchase from Mexico by the United States.

The Gadsden Purchase, known in Mexico as Spanish: Venta de La Mesilla, is a 29,670-square-mile (76,800 km2) region of present-day southern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico that the United States acquired from Mexico by the Treaty of Mesilla, which took effect on June 8, 1854. The purchase included lands south of the Gila River and west of the Rio Grande where the U.S. wanted to build a transcontinental railroad along a deep southern route, which the Southern Pacific Railroad later completed in 1881–1883. The purchase also aimed to resolve other border issues.

Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo peace treaty that concludes Mexican-American War of 1846-1848

The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, officially titled the Treaty of Peace, Friendship, Limits and Settlement between the United States of America and the Mexican Republic, is the peace treaty signed on February 2, 1848, in the Villa de Guadalupe Hidalgo between the United States and Mexico that ended the Mexican–American War (1846–1848). The treaty came into force on July 4, 1848.

Southwestern United States Geographical region of the USA

The Southwestern United States, also known as the American Southwest, Desert Southwest, or simply The Southwest, is the informal name for a region of the western United States. Definitions of the region's boundaries vary a great deal and have never been standardized, though many boundaries have been proposed. For example, one definition includes the stretch from the Mojave Desert in California to Carlsbad, New Mexico, and from the Mexico–United States border to the southern areas of Colorado, Utah, and Nevada. The largest metropolitan areas are centered around Phoenix, Las Vegas, Tucson, Albuquerque, and El Paso. Those five metropolitan areas have an estimated total population of more than 9.6 million as of 2017, with nearly 60 percent of them living in the two Arizona cities—Phoenix and Tucson.

Adams–Onís Treaty Treaty between the United States and Spain, ceding Florida to the U.S.

The Adams–Onís Treaty of 1819, also known as the Transcontinental Treaty, the Florida Purchase Treaty, or the Florida Treaty, was a treaty between the United States and Spain in 1819 that ceded Florida to the U.S. and defined the boundary between the U.S. and New Spain. It settled a standing border dispute between the two countries and was considered a triumph of American diplomacy. It came in the midst of increasing tensions related to Spain's territorial boundaries in North America against the United States and Great Britain in the aftermath of the American Revolution; it also came during the Latin American wars of independence.

James Gadsden American diplomat, soldier, planter, politician and railroad manager

James Gadsden was an American diplomat, soldier and businessman after whom the Gadsden Purchase is named, pertaining to land which the United States bought from Mexico, and which became the southern portions of Arizona and New Mexico. James Gadsden served as Adjutant General of the U. S. Army from August 13, 1821 – March 22, 1822. Between 1853 and 1856, he served as U. S. Minister to Mexico. He was known commonly as General Gadsden, although he never had a rank above Colonel.

Mexican Cession Land US gained in Mexican-American War

The Mexican Cession is the region in the modern-day southwestern United States that Mexico ceded to the U.S. in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848 after the Mexican–American War. This region had not been part of the areas east of the Rio Grande which had been claimed by the Republic of Texas, though the Texas annexation resolution two years earlier had not specified the southern and western boundary of the new state of Texas. The Mexican Cession was the third-largest acquisition of territory in US history. The largest was the Louisiana Purchase, with some 827,000 sq. miles, followed by the acquisition of Alaska.

State of Deseret provisional state of the United States between 1849–1850

The State of Deseret was a provisional state of the United States, proposed in 1849 by settlers from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City. The provisional state existed for slightly over two years and was never recognized by the United States government. The name derives from the word for "honeybee" in the Book of Mormon.

Colorado Territory territory of the USA between 1861-1876

The Territory of Colorado was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from February 28, 1861, until August 1, 1876, when it was admitted to the Union as the State of Colorado.

Arizona Territory US 19th century-early 20th century territory

The Territory of Arizona was a territory of the United States that existed from February 24, 1863 until February 14, 1912, when the remaining extent of the territory was admitted to the Union as the state of Arizona. It was created from the western half of the New Mexico Territory during the American Civil War.

Confederate Arizona Territory of the Confederate States of America

Confederate Arizona was the common name for southern New Mexico and Arizona between 1861 and 1862, when Confederate Army Colonel John R. Baylor governed the area. The official name of the region was Territory of Arizona. Confederate Arizona was also known as Arizona Territory. Effective Confederate control ended after the Battle of Glorieta Pass in March 1862. The Trans-Mississippi Department surrendered to Union forces in May 1865, ending the Civil War.

Slave states and free states division of U.S. states in which slavery was either legal or illegal

In the history of the United States, a slave state was a U.S. state in which the practice of slavery was legal, and a free state was one in which slavery was prohibited or being legally phased out. Historically, in the 17th century, slavery was established in a number of English overseas possessions. In the 18th century, it existed in all the British colonies of North America. In 1776, slavery was legal throughout the Thirteen Colonies; starting with Pennsylvania in 1780, about half the states abolished slavery during the Revolutionary War or in the first decades of the new country. Slavery became a divisive issue; it was a major issue during the writing of the U.S. Constitution, and slavery was the primary cause of the American Civil War. Just prior to the Civil War, there were 19 free states and 15 slave states. The Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, ratified in December of 1865, abolished slavery throughout the United States.

The Arizona Organic Act was an organic act passed in the United States federal law introduced as H.R. 357 in the second session of the 37th U.S. Congress on March 12, 1862, by Rep. James M. Ashley of Ohio. The Act provided for the creation of the Arizona Territory by the division of the New Mexico Territory into two territories, along the current boundary between New Mexico and Arizona. On February 24, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln signed the bill once it had been approved by Congress. The bill established a provisional government for the new territory. It abolished slavery in the new Arizona Territory, but did not abolish it in the portion that remained the New Mexico Territory. During the 1850s, Congress had resisted a demand for Arizona statehood because a well-grounded fear that it would become a slave state.

Colorado in the American Civil War

The Colorado Territory was formally created in 1861 shortly before the bombardment of Fort Sumter sparked the American Civil War. Although sentiments were somewhat divided in the early days of the war, Colorado was only marginally a pro-Union territory. Colorado was strategically important to both the Union and Confederacy because of the gold and silver mines there as both sides wanted to use the mineral wealth to help finance the war. The New Mexico Campaign was a military operation conducted by Confederate Brigadier General Henry Sibley to gain control of the Southwest, including the gold fields of Colorado, the mineral-rich territory of Nevada and the ports of California. The campaign was intended as a prelude to an invasion of the Colorado Territory and an attempt to cut the supply lines between California and the rest of the Union. However, the Confederates were defeated at the Battle of Glorieta Pass in New Mexico and were forced to retreat back to Texas, effectively ending the New Mexico Campaign.

New Mexico Territory in the American Civil War historic territory ≠ present US state

The New Mexico Territory, which included the areas which became the modern U.S. states of New Mexico and Arizona as well as the southern part of present-day Nevada, played a small but significant role in the Trans-Mississippi Theater of the American Civil War. Despite its remoteness from the major battlefields of the east and its existence on the still sparsely populated and largely undeveloped American frontier, both Confederate and Union governments claimed ownership over the territory, and several important battles and military operations took place in the region.

Parallel 36°30′ north

The parallel 36°30′ north is a circle of latitude that is 36 and one-half degrees north of the equator of the Earth. This parallel of latitude is particularly significant in the history of the United States as the line of the Missouri Compromise, which was used to divide the prospective slave and free states west of the Mississippi River, with the exception of Missouri, which is mostly north of this parallel.

U.S. provisional government of New Mexico

Under the provisions of the Kearny Code as promulgated in 1846, the first legislature of New Mexico commenced its session on December 6, 1847. The Council consisted of seven members, with Antonio Sandoval, of Bernalillo County, as president, and the House of twenty-one members, with W.Z. Angney as speaker.

Territorial evolution of Arizona

The following timeline traces the territorial evolution of the U.S. State of Arizona.

Capture of Tucson (1862)

Union forces entered Tucson on May 20, 1862, with a force of 2,000 men without firing a shot.

The Country Club Area is a suburb of El Paso, Texas. It was the object of a lengthy border dispute between Texas and New Mexico.

References

  1. New Mexico Territory Slave Code (1859–1867) | The Black Past: Remembered and Reclaimed
  2. David M. Potter (1976). The Impending Crisis. Harper & Row. pp. 533–534. ISBN   978-0-06-131929-7.
  3. "Department of State – Gadsden Purchase" . Retrieved 2008-04-04.
  4. New York Times – The New Territory of Arizona
  5. National Park Service – The Battle of Glorieta

Further reading